From: Social Foundation Of Human Behavior, By Professor Earl H.
Bell (Harper and Row 1961)
(I had SAYZME rear the following text from Dr. Bell's book. It took 10 min.)
Page 108 • SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR
mechanized society they are nonadaptive. In fact, they might bring about man's extinction if they lead him to initiate an atomic war.
Perhaps the need most characteristic of man is that for social
relations. This is a reflection of the great degree of man's dependence upon
other men. We are born with little if any more biological equipment than are
other animals. Insofar as specific behavior patterns are concerned, -we probably
are less well equipped than any other animal. Survival would be impossible
without the aid of others. At birth, we represent but the minimum raw materials
for the making of a human being. The final processing is up to our fellow men
and they must provide many of the essential materials. How this is accomplished
will be discussed later. Here, we are concerned with the characteristic or need
which holds us together in relationships conducive to the process of developing
"humanity." Only the fact that man is a social animal makes it
possible for him to exist and to develop his complex adjustive behavior.
At the turn of the century, about half the children born died before the end of their first year. An important killer was a malady called marasmus from the Greek word meaning "wasting away." The disease was also called infantile atrophy. Studies made to determine its nature revealed that babies in the best homes and hospitals with the best physical care were most often its victims. Babies in the poorer homes, with parents and siblings who gave them lots of attention, were least afflicted even though the sanitary and other physical conditions were anything but ideal. Plentiful and satisfactory social relations supplied by the poorer families were lacking in the sterile environment of hospitals and in wealthy homes where infant care was relegated to hired nurses. Without close social relations infants wasted away despite the most excellent physical care. Infants are not plants; they are by nature social beings, and social relations are as necessary for their growth and development as any other nutrient.
This need for social interaction is vividly pointed out by Drs. Ruth and Harry Bakwin, pediatricians, in a book on infant care. Their studies show that:
The effect of residence in a hospital [where interaction is limited] manifests itself by a fairly well defined clinical picture. A striking feature is the failure to gain properly, despite the ingestion of diets which are entirely adequate for growth in the home. Infants in hospitals sleep less than others and they rarely smile or babble spontaneously They are listless and apathetic and look unhappy. The appetite is indifferent and food is accepted without enthusiasm. The stools tend to be frequent and, in sharp contrast with infants cared for in the home, it is unusual for twenty-four hours to pass without evacuation. Respira-
THE BIOLOGICAL NATURE OF MAN • Page 109
tory infections which last only a day- or so in the home are
prolonged and may persist for weeks or months. Return to the home results in
defervescence (disappearance of fever) within a few days and a prompt and
striking gain in weight.1 Page 110 • SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS Of HUMAN BEHAVIOR
Dr. Ribble, another pediatrician, dramatically points up the need of infants for social relations in a case report on Little Bob.
Little Bob was born in a maternity hospital. . . . He was a full-term child and weighed six pounds, three ounces at birth. During the two weeks stay in the hospital, the baby was breast fed and there was no apparent difficulty with his body functions. . . . Both mother and child were thriving when they left the hospital.
On returning home, the mother found that her husband had suddenly deserted her. . . . She discovered soon that her milk did not agree with the baby. As is frequently the case, the deep emotional reaction had affected her milk secretion. The infant refused the breast and began to vomit. Later he was taken to the hospital and the mother did not call to see him. At the end of a month, she wrote that she had been seriously ill and asked the hospital to keep the child until further notice.
In spite of careful attention and skillful feeding, this baby remained for two months at practically the same weight. He was in a crowded ward and received little personal attention. The busy nurses had no time to take him up and work with him as a mother would. . . . Gradually, the child became what is known as a ruminator, his food coming up and going down with equal case. At the age of two months, he weighed five pounds (one pound, three ounces less than at birth). The baby at this time was transferred to a small children's hospital, with the idea that the institution might be able to give him more individual care. It became apparent that the mother had abandoned the child altogether.
When seen by the writer, this baby actually looked like a seven-month foetus, yet he had also a strange appearance of oldness. His arms and legs were wrinkled and wasted, his head large in proportion to the rest of his body, his chest round and flaring widely at the base over an enormous liver. His breathing was shallow, he was generally inactive and his skin was cold and flabby. He took large quantities of milk, but did not gain weight since most of it went through him with very little assimilation and with copious discharges of mucus t from the intestines. The baby showed, at this time, the pallor which, in our study we have found typical of infants who are not mothered, although care-ful examination of the blood did not indicate a serious degree of anemia. . . . There was no evidence of organic disease, but growth and development were definitely at a standstill, and it appeared that the child was gradually slipping backward to lower and lower levels of body economy and function. [These are typical symptoms of marasmus.]
The routine treatment for this hospital for babies who are not gaining weight is to give them concentrated nursing care. They are held in the nurses' laps for feeding and allowed at least half an hour to take the bottle. From time to time, their position in the crib is changed and when possible, the nurse carries them about the ward for a few minutes before or after each feeding. [Social relations] . . .
With this treatment, the child began to improve slowly . . . The services
1 Ruth N1.
Bakwin and Harry Bakwin,
Care During Infancy and Childhood I942, p. 295.
of a volunteer mother [were acquired] who came to the hospital twice daily in order to give him some attention he so greatly needed. What she actually did was to hold him in her lap for a short period before his 10.00 feedings. She was told that he needed love more than he needed medicine and was instructed to stroke his head gently and speak or sing softly to him and walk him about. Her daily visits were gradually prolonged until she was spending an hour twice a day, giving the baby this artificial mothering. The result was good. The child remained in the hospital until it was five months of age, at which time he weighed nine pounds, all rumination and diarrhea had stopped, and he had become an alert baby with vigorous muscular activity. His motor coordinations were, of course, retarded, although he held up his head well and looked about, focusing his eyes and smiling in response to his familiar nurses, he could not yet grasp his own bottle or turn himself over, as is customary at this age. . . .
In accordance with the new hospital procedure, as soon as the child's life was no longer in danger, he was transferred to a good, supervised foster home in order that he might have still more individual attention. Under this regime, his development proceeded well and gradually he mastered such functions as sitting, creeping, and standing. His speech was slow in developing, however, and he did not walk until after his second year. The general health of this child is now excellent at the end of his third year, also his I.Q. is high on standard tests.2
2Margaret Ribble The Rights of Infants, Columbia University Press 1949, p. 171.
It is clear that children from European cultures have a high degree of colic but not from third-world cultures.
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